Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

As an occupational safety and environmental health professional, I have been following the news of the shooting deaths of Virginia reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward by Vester Lee Flanagan closely.

LI #14

Is there anyway that this tragedy could have been prevented, and are there lessons to be learned for other employers who can then better protect their staffs from senseless violence? As Flanagan was a former employee of Parker and Ward’s station, it seems appropriate to consider the possibility.

By definition, workplace violence includes:

  • Threatening behaviour – such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects.
  • Verbal or written threats – any expression of an intent to inflict harm.
  • Harassment – any behaviour that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.
  • Verbal abuse – swearing, insults or condescending language.
  • Physical attacks – hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.

Reports now indicate Flangan’s employment history included many of these incidents. He was self-described “powder keg,” fired from his job at WDBJ in Virgina because of “anger management issues.”A 23-page note was sent to ABC news that indicates Flanagan was inspired by the Charleston shootings:

This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.

In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II. He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

However, given the fact that Flanagan had been fired and escorted out by police (not a typical occurence for any firing), the question has to be asked is there anything the news station could have done to anticipate his attack?

For example, could monitoring of Flanagan’s social media account by the station’s Human Resource staff provided any warning? Should Parker, Ward, and other station employees have been informed of Flanagan’s history, so they could have been on the lookout for him and know what to do if he showed up during filming? Could past employers have been able to warn the Virginia station of any problems with Flanagan if rules preventing such information dissemination had not been in place?

As with many of the other senseless slaughters covered on Legal Insurrection (e.g., Charleston, Santa Barbara, Aurora, Sandy Hook), the failure to address metal illness effectively was a key component. Gun control is not the issues as much as “mental illness control”.

And while journalists such as Parker and Ward can potentially experience violence while covering a story, a feature piece on local anniversary is typically a high risk event. The UK Daily Mail offers some background on the two victims:

According to her bio at WDBJ7.com, Parker was the station’s morning reporter. A local girl, Parker had spent much of her life outside Martinsville, about an hour from where she was tragically gunned down Wednesday.

Prior to her time at WDBJ, Parker worked near the Marine base Camp Lejeune for the Jacksonville, North Carolina bureau of WCTI.

She graduated from James Madison University just three years ago. While there, she interned at the local ABC/Fox affiliate and was news editor for her university’s nationally recognized newspaper, The Breeze.

According to her station biography, she says she liked to whitewater kayak, play with her parents’ dog Jack and attend community theater events.

‘She was so enthusiastic and she was doing what she loved,’ Deon Guillory, a reporter who had Parker as an intern in college, told CNN. ‘She was living her dream.’

Photographer Ward was a Virginia Tech graduate who attended high school in Salem, less than an hour from the scene of his murder.

The two Virginia natives often worked together on WDBJ stories and started off at the station as interns.

In April, they traveled together to Appomattox for the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. In February, the station posted photos of the duo to Facebook as they dressed up as bride and groom at a local bridal store.

‘Adam was a delightful person. He worked hard – you could tell he loved what he was doing,’ Robert Denton, who taught Ward at Virginia Tech University, said.

I hope some serious lessons are learned in the wake of this tragedy, instead of the usual cries for more gun control.

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers: I am thrilled to be chatting with Silvio Canto, Jr. this week on CANTO TALK. I will be on this Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 (7 pm PST/9 pm CT/10 pm EST). CLICK HERE FOR LIVE SHOW OR ARCHIVED PODCAST.

MUT #02 Joanna Mell

One of the guests on the show will be an exquisitely beautiful artist I have connected with via Facebook, who plays like an angel. Joanna Mell is a Celtic Harpist, who renditions of traditional tunes have had a healing effect on my soul as I cover the chaos that has become the current news cycle.

As I am a big fan of “The Dresden Files” book series about wizards, fairies, vampires, and other fantasy creatures, I wanted to feature this Carolan tune “Si Beg, Si Mor” (The Fairies of the Small Hill and the Big Hill).

In fact, what caught my attention on her business website was the “Therapeutic Harp” entry.

The harp has been used for centuries to produce soothing music which brings peace, rest and healing to the mind, body and spirit. The first mention of the therapeutic use of the harp occurs in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 16:14-23, when a “skilled harper”, namely David, was brought to King Saul, who was in a restless and fearful state. After David played his harp for the king, Saul fell into a restful, healing sleep. There are many accounts of ancient Irish harpers being able to induce sleep, relaxation and healing of fevers and epileptic fits by playing certain types of music on the harp. Today, a small group of harpists are being trained to use the harp as a healing instrument in clinical settings such as hospice, hospitals, and nursing homes to induce relaxation and stress relief, normalization of heart and breathing rates, enhancement of oxygen absorption rates, normalization of blood pressure, and pain and anxiety abatement. In the case of the hospice client, therapeutic harp music has the ability to ease the transition through the dying process. Therapeutic harp music also has beneficial clinical applications in the chemotherapy process, easing nausea, anxiety and other undesirable side effects.

And, after following the disasters — both foreign and domestic — associated with our current crop of politicos and their policies, a dose of great music seems to be in order.

In fact, we will put it to the test — because Silvio and I will be chatting with military history expert par excellence, Barry Jacobsen, about the national security matter of the week. It’s too early to say what the latest problem will be…but the recent incident with Vice President Joe Biden might be a good bet.

For more information on hiring Joanna for an event, click HERE.

For samples of Joanna’s music, click HERE.

To buy Joanna’s albums, click HERE. (MUT NOte: Her Come Ye Back album is such a timeless classic, my son is trying to steal it from me!).

MUT #01 Joanna Mell

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers:

I have always felt that the best step many of my fellow citizen activists could take would be to get elected to local offices. So when I heard one of my favorite, savvy, and sassy conservative activist friends was running for her city’s town clerk, I just had to find out more.

Therefor, it will be my privilege to join Silvio Canto Jr. to interview New York’s Karen Beseth, who is running for Dewitt Town Clerk.

I will be asking her for campaign tips and tricks she has learned, to pass down to others who might be inspired to join her on their own political careers. And, of course, we will be comparing “Blue State Blues.”

Her Facebook page is HERE, for those who want to send a direct message of support. If you do nothing else, please LIKE her page. This is the type of tactic she has had ton handle:

It has come to my attention today that a member of the DeWitt Town Board used the town’s email to send town employees an invitation to Angela Epolito’s fundraiser. Ms. Epolito sent out an apology on behalf of the Supervisor, but not until after town government e-mail accounts were used for political purposes. I was also concerned that the Supervisor used the Town’s taxpayer funded fall newsletter to publicize his position on the referendum to turn the Town Clerk into an appointed position.

I am not just a candidate for Town Clerk, I am also a resident and taxpayer in DeWitt. Town resources should not be used for political gain. It is unethical. The people of DeWitt deserve better from our elected officials.

Click HERE at 7 pm PST/9 pm CT/10 pm EST or afterward for the archived podcast. If there are specific questions you want me to ask, put them in the comments section.

Read Full Post »

Show #006 Joseph in Egypt

In time for Eastern and Passover, Barry Jacobsen and I review the stories of Joseph and the Exodus — with an eye to the ties to these sagas and the ancient Egyptian historical record.

Head over to our new podcast site and enjoy!!!

Show #006 – Ancient Egypt in the Bible

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends: I have some thrilling news to share.

I have partnered with Barry Jacobsen, author of “Deadliest Blogger,” former associate producer of SpikeTV’s “Deadliest Warrior,” and frequent guest/co-host on Canto Talk to create a new talk-show business model.

It is a pay-for-podcast program, which covers the events and people of the past impacting today’s world.


Where the tides of history crash into the shores of current events.


Ukraine updates: Putin signs treaty making Crimea part of Russia

With ongoing developments on the crisis in Ukraine, here are some news updates from Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a draft treaty making Crimea part of Russia.

From CNN, Ukraine cries ‘robbery’ as Russia annexes Crimea:

Never mind what the West thinks — the Kremlin says Ukraine’s Crimea region is now part of Russia.

A signing ceremony Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol made it official, the Kremlin said in a statement. The territory, ceded to Ukraine in the Soviet era, is now part of the Russian Federation, it said.

History Bytes will be able to offer the historical background that will shed additional light how past events and personalities led to the news today:

Show #005: In the Shadow of the Bear

Military history expert Barry Jacobsen discusses the history of the Black Sea region of Russia, including:

  • The era of Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde.
  • The forced exodus of the Crimean Tartars on the orders of Joseph Stalin.
  • The rationale behind Vladimir Putin’s power grab in Georgia.
  • The development of Islamic extremism in Chechnya and its consequences.
  • The origins of the Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”

Leslie Eastman co-hosts.

Barry and I hope you will join us on other social media platforms:

Little Logo


Twitter Header small

@HistoryBytes – TWITTER

Other shows in our roster:

Barry and I hope to be profitable enough to maintain and expand this fledgling effort.

I have some special people to thank for this new profit opportunity:

Finally, I would like to thank my son (my biggest source of inspiration) and my husband (whose hard work allows me to delve into the bowels of history and contemplate the complexities of culture).

Ben-Leslie AnguillaHalloween2012MomBlake

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers:  My fellow SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition Co-Founder, Dawn Wildman, will be joining Silvio Canto, Jr. and me on Canto Talk this Thursday, Jan. 23, to discuss what his happening with the California Tea Parties (click HERE at 7 pm PST/9 PM CT, 10 pm EST or for archived podcast).

Dawn Wildman, surrounded by Tea Party friends.

Dawn Wildman, surrounded by Tea Party friends.

The last we talked, she was promoting the Tea Party California Caucus’ Tech-Based Gameplan for CA GOP Convention. There was recently a caucus meeting, to make further plans for 2014, and she will be bringing us up to speed with those.

Here is a sneak peak of what she observed.

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to travel around California and attend events that are for and by grassroots leaders from around our Golden State. This past weekend I was in Fresno to attend an event being put on by the newly minted Tea Party California Caucus and what an event it was. Now let me be very clear I am no longer a Republican, I am a non-partisan voter which simply means I don’t care who gets the credit when a good is represented in leadership. I made a decision years ago that based on what I saw the California Republican Party doing to grassroots groups in our state that I would leave the Party and look for greener pastures. Having not actually found those among the already established political parties I chose to become one of the ever growing disenfranchised voters and hung out my “ no Party “ loyalty sign by re-registering as a Non Partisan Voter.

I digress, so there I am at this event with a bunch of Republicans, which sounds like the beginning of a great joke but this was serious, this was a phenomenal undertaking, this was about real change. You see for almost five years now Republicans have been complaining about Republicans that is exactly what started the tea party movement. But instead of just changing who these people align themselves with by changing parties they decided to fight for the Party they remember joining. There they were in Fresno, trying to work out a strategy even with GOP hacks in the audience watching and waiting and taking notes to report back to the elite that have held this Party hostage.

This huge crowd of “disgruntled” GOP folks was energized and ready to rumble. They have taken on the greatest challenge ever seen since the declining days of the Whig Party. And they are serious. They know the powers that be that keep the Republican Party in California as nothing more than a punch line in a joke will and are fighting them all the way. The good news for them is that the CAGOP usually stinks at what they do as witnessed by the lack of any real Republican wins over the years. These people are motivated by one thing, bringing California back to its Golden State excellence. They want to have real representation in Sacramento; they want to have a seat at the table when back room deals are being done by the brain trust in Sacramento and DC. Simply put, they want the Party they signed up for to exist in more than just name.

And if this doesn’t work what will these very loyal people do next? Well who knows, they are learning the rules, learning them well and are ready to operate around them.

With all the breaking news in California, including California Drought = Flood of New Rules,we should be able to entertain our fans in all 57 states!

More on the Tea Party California Caucus can be found HERE.

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers: We have another great Canto Talk program set for this Thursday, Jan. 16th. We are going to feature another installment in the continuing quest of Legal Insurrection editor Mandy Nagy to obtain Obamacare. (Click here for podcast, or live show at 7 pm PST/9 pm CT/10 pm EST).

Legal Insurrection Editor, Mandy Nagy

Legal Insurrection Editor, Mandy Nagy

Here are some Legal Insurrection reports filed since our last chat with Mandy:

And, a new one from Neo-Neocon.

In related news, with a nod to Silvio Canto’s Cuban background:

Mirroring problems with the federal health care website, people around the nation attempting to navigate the Spanish version have discovered their own set of difficulties.

The site, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, launched more than two months late.

A Web page with Spanish instructions linked users to an English form.

And the translations were so clunky and full of grammatical mistakes that critics say they must have been computer-generated — the name of the site itself can literally be read “for the caution of health.”

“When you get into the details of the plans, it’s not all written in Spanish. It’s written in Spanglish, so we end up having to translate it for them,” said Adrian Madriz, a health care navigator who helps with enrollment in Miami…

Death Panels!

  • Ex-NY Times Editor Keller to Cancer Patient: ‘Going Gently’ Saves Money

    Lisa Bonchek Adams is currently hospitalized and being treated for Stage IV breast cancer. Since her diagnosis in October of 2012 at the age of 37, this mother of three has been blogging and tweeting about what she has been through mentally, personally, physically, and medically. For a chilling and revealing reason, former New York Times editor Bill Keller has a big problem with this.

It should be another great show with Mandy!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,268 other followers